Well, the booths have been broken down and the trucks are packed and rolling out of Vegas, but we still have a lot of news to down load to you all out there. Here we will continue with ride reports of several of the bikes we had a chance to throw a leg over at the Outdoor Demo.
Fuji Outland 29″er FS: by Guitar Ted
The Fuji Outland full suspension bike is a little known entity that I have been curious to check out for over two years now. Last year at Interbike they didn’t even bring one out to the show, although it was listed as being in the line up, so I was surprised to see several demo Outlands in the Fuji tent as I walked by. I decided I’d better get on one while the gettin’ was good.
The Outland comes in three different spec levels and this one is the 1.0 with a mostly SLX group, (XT rear derailleur), Rock Shox Recon Silver TK fork, and Tektro hydraulic brakes. With 100mm of front and rear travel, a Horst type link pivot at the rear drop out, and beefy looking construction, the Outland looked like it would be fairly decent out on the trail. Sizing was said to run on the small side, so Fuji reps set me up on the 21″. It fit fine, with the exception of a too long stem, which I was afraid might cause some handling issues. (Seems a lot of 29″ers come with long tillers anymore)
I carefully set up the Rock Shox suspension components myself, (Monarch rear damper, Recon with Solo Air up front), and set off on the demo loop. The tires on the Outland were the WTB Vulpines, which back on my home trails really rip, but at Bootleg Canyon, where the scree, rocks, and sand abound, these were a handful in the corners, so I wasn’t able to push the bike as hard as I would have liked to.
Speaking of the Vulpines, the rear tire didn’t have a ton of extra room back there. However; the rear end was quite stiff laterally, and part of that is due to the beefy, round-ish chain stays that kept things lined up well. Still, I wouldn’t plan on putting anything but a 2.2″ or smaller in this rigs rear end. Okay, with what I had to work with as far as tires went, I would say that the bike actually surprised me with its calm, capable manners. Given some rubber with some bite for the conditions at Bootleg Canyon, I would have felt fine pushing the Fuji harder.
In terms of handling, the Fuji was definitely on the stable side of the spectrum. The long stem may have contributed to this some, but it was apparent that the geometry up front was set up for a slightly slower, stable feel. Climbing was met with a solidness in the rear that told me the rear of this bike wasn’t flexing out of shape. With the combination of the tapered head tube and that laterally stiff rear, the Outland was a surprisingly solid feeling trail bike. The suspension felt capable, and was working well. The rest of the components were also doing their job. What wasn’t to like?
Well, for the asking price of $2749.00, the Outland 29er 1.0 comes off as being merely “okay”. Given some refinements, (more rear tire clearance, knocking a bit of weight off the 30 lbs mass), this could end up becoming a great platform for an endurance racing rig, or a shorter travel trail rig that could go anywhere. I’m not sure how the handling would play for tighter trails, but for Bootleg Canyon it was really pretty good. Color me impressed with this from a possibilities standpoint for Fuji.